GOP Leadership Tries to Reign in the Mullahs on Supreme Court Confirmation

The New York Times is reporting that GOP Senate and White House aides have been calling Christian Talibani leaders who make up their party’s base, warning them to back off their extreme rhetoric demanding that President Bush nominate a whack job to fill the vacancy of retiring rightwing Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Beseeching them to pipe down, the GOP aides tell the party’s mullahs that polls say the public wants a “fair and dignified” confirmation process. Continued agitation from the ultraright will only stir up their opponents, they say.

But “fair and dignified” are both foreign concepts to these yahoos:

Gary Bauer, president of American Values and a Christian conservative candidate for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, said, “A lot of people feel that the administration shouldn’t be reluctant to talk about the values we hope the nominee will embrace.”

“If all my side does is talk about process – ‘we want a fair hearing, etc.’ – while Ted Kennedy is talking about ‘we are not going to let somebody on the court who is going to take away the rights of individuals,’ as silly as I think that is, it will affect the way people think about the battle,” Mr. Bauer said.

Tom Minnery, director of public policy for Focus on the Family, an evangelical group and broadcaster based in Colorado Springs, blamed leftist advocates for the “decibel level” of judicial confirmation debates and said his group planned to continue to address mainly social and cultural issues “to get our constituents to understand how important this battle is.”

Officials of several Christian conservative groups, who did not want to be identified because of what they said was pressure by the White House, said they were continuing to urge the president not to nominate Mr. Gonzales.

Tuesday evening, Focus on the Family transmitted an e-mail message to supporters with the title, “Bush Defends Gonzales. Some conservatives wonder if attorney general is right for Supreme Court.”

Other groups circulated a statement from a prominent opponent of abortion rights, C. J. Willkie, describing what he said were private statements from Mr. Gonzales on the subject in an effort to discredit him further with social conservatives…


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